Civic Election 2018  

Costco becomes political

Kelowna mayoralty candidate Tom Dyas doesn't think city council has treated one of its biggest corporate citizens very well.

And, he's made the relocation of Costco's Kelowna operation a political issue.

It's been widely known for several years the warehouse giant has been looking for a new, larger location, one which would include a larger store, more parking and a gas bar.

Recent stories indicated Costco could move to property just across the William R. Bennett Bridge on Westbank First Nation lands.

In an open letter to company warehouse manager Omara Escobar, Dyas implored the company to wait until after the Oct. 20 election before making a decision.

He invited Escobar to meet with him, if elected, either in Kelowna or at the company's head office in Issaquah, Wash.

"It has been brought to my attention that you came to our city and met with elected officials," Dyas wrote in his letter.

"However, you did not receive a very warm welcome as you were requested to change your distribution model and look at a store with two floors."

Mayor Colin Basran says Dyas' assertion is false. He says it's an attempt by a candidate to grab headlines.

"In the meeting, we assured Costco representatives we want them to stay in our community. I instructed staff to work with their representatives to find viable, alternative locations if that's what they wanted to pursue."

As for the specific allegations made by Dyas, Basran says elected officials wouldn't be doing their job it they didn't ask questions about a company's specific plans.

"Of course we asked if they were open to a two-floor like Vancouver. We asked if they might be open to a parkade similar to what an Ikea has at some of their stores.

"But, we didn't demand they do anything. We just had to ask the questions, so we could help them find the most suitable location."

He says any assertion councillors asked Costco to change their business model is ridiculous.

Dyas added the loss of Costco would result in a significant loss of tax revenue, shifting the tax burden on local residents.

One candidate, two seats

Wayne Carson isn't satisfied just representing the residents of the Central Okanagan West Electoral Area around the regional board table.

Carson also wants a seat on Kelowna city council.

The former North Westside fire chief is running for both. He is seeking re-election as area director for the Regional District of Central Okanagan, and election on Kelowna city council.

Running for office in two different jurisdictions is perfectly legal, and not at all uncommon.

He says he decided to take a run in Kelowna in part because he says the relationship between Kelowna and the two electoral areas, and the other three municipalities, is not good.

Kelowna has seven seats on the 13 member regional board.

"I would like to be a part of bringing that together and get a little more co-operation at the board level and have everybody pulling in the same direction," said Carson.

He also feels strongly that the three regional districts in the valley should merge into one, and believes he could help affect that change better from the council table.

"We have three layers of government costing taxpayers significant money. We're one transportation shed, we're one air shed and one water shed...we're one valley.

"Decisions need to be made together and not by three separate levels of government that, again, are very costly to the taxpayers."

Carson believes there would be no conflict of interest in serving "two masters," if elected to both positions.


Council ballot shrinks by 1

And then there were 21.

Curtis Cibinel has had second thoughts, and will not be seeking one of the eight seats on Kelowna city council in the upcoming municipal election.

Cibinel, who was making his first foray into civic politics, told Castanet he withdrew his name for personal reasons.

He didn't elaborate.

Candidates who filed their nomination papers by last Friday's deadline have until the 4 p.m. this Friday to withdraw their name from consideration.

The election ballots will be made official after the close of business Friday.

Candidates who choose to withdraw after Friday will still see their name on the ballot.


Candidate plans to withdraw

Martyn Lewis has declared his intention to withdraw from the crowded Penticton city council race.

The owner of Brexit Pub and Coconut Express tours told Castanet in an email Wednesday morning he is not proceeding with his nomination.

Candidates have until Sept. 21 to withdraw from the race, after which their names will be on the ballot.

With Lewis’ withdrawal, 25 candidates remain in the race.

Who is running in Enderby?

In Enderby, seven candidates are running for six council positions, with all incumbents seeking re-election. 

Candidates are as follows:

  • Tundra Baird(i)
  • Brad Case(i)
  • Roxanne Davyduke(i)
  • Raquel Knust(i)
  • Shawn Shishido(i)
  • Brian Schreiner(i)
  • Darren Robinson

As for the mayoral race, the two candidates running for mayor in Enderby bring with them decades of local political experience.

Incumbent Greg McCune represents close to 20 years of city council experience as either a councillor or mayor, while his challenger, Herman Halvorson, has served several terms as director of Electoral Area F in the Regional District of North Okanagan.

For Halvorson, who has spent pretty much his whole life in Enderby, his concern with the city's debt is what led him to run for mayor.  

"I have concerns with the debt that seems to be growing and I think that people should be aware of that; primarily, I call it 'credit card debt.'"

Halvorson says that at the end of last year, the City of Enderby was running a deficit that works out to $1,080 per person. 

"In my view, it seems to be getting out of hand. "

Halvorson says if he is elected he would reign in the "credit card debt."

However, Greg McCune sees it differently.

"We're running at $3.2 million in debt, based off $100 million in assets. That's about 3 per cent. I don't know of anywhere else that does that, so we are super proud of what we are doing and how we are watching the taxpayers' dollars."

McCune believes the city is spending the money wisely.

"It has been an ongoing process of trying to make our community more affordable, more presentable, more respectable and I think we are succeeding in that."

The municipal election is on Oct. 20, 2018.

Peake to meet with locals

Janet Peake, one of two mayoral candidates in Summerland, will be hosting an open house to meet with members of the public on Thursday.

The event will run from 7-9 p.m. at the St. Stephen Anglican Church, located at 9311 Prairie Valley Road.

Residents will be able to hear about Peake's campaign platform and give their input on the community's future.

"She is a knowledgeable and experienced community collaborator and has been involved in many community groups prior to becoming a councillor, and certainly in the past four years," a news release from Peake's media team said.

Peake has served on council in Summerland for the past four years, and she will compete with another current councillor, Toni Boot, for the mayor's job in next month's municipal election.

Boot previously announced she also plans to host an open house, on Sept. 26.

Tujik for trustee

Christie Tujik has thrown her hat into the political ring.

Tujik is running for a trustee position with School District 22 in the Oct. 20 election.

“My background is retail management and banking. I have been an active member of the school PAC for the last two years,” said Tujik who has been involved as the DAC rep for Beairsto Elemetary

“I represented Beairsto, by preparing a school board presentation for the formation of a fifth French Immersion Kindergarden class for the 2017-18 school year, which was granted. I was also the lead member who advocated to the school board for a crossing guard, which was granted this school year. “As a parent, my goal is and has always been the education, well being and safety of my children. To that degree, I have an interest in their future, as well as the future of the other children in this school district. I am passionate about making this school district, the best it can be.”

The race is on

The race is on for Electoral Area B in the North Okanagan Regional District.

Myles McGovern is challenging long-time director Bob Fleming for the position he has held since 2011.

Fleming was elected RDNO board chairperson in 2016, a position he still holds.

During his time with the RDNO, Fleming has participated in the development of the Greater Vernon Athletics Park and was part of the committee to secure the land for the establishment of the Okanagan Rail Trail.

In a release, Fleming said he “believes in protecting the environment while improving and adding to our parks and green space.”

He also plans to continue to enable the improvement of the local economy through thoughtful and financially sound improvements to services such as water, sewer, fire protection and roads.

McGovern has a successful background in the global technology sector, twice nominated for Canadian Entrepreneur of the year and has been recognized for numerous accomplishments including the development of Google Streetview - as CEO of Immersive Media, he was an architect of the technology and the company filmed the first 75 cities for the streetview launch in 2007.

While CEO of Immersive won an Emmy award for their contributions in Taylor Swift 360 videos and produced

numerous award winning VR applications over the years.

“I am running for the board because I think it is important that people have a choice and an opportunity to vote in our elections. In the past several elections there has been no voting for candidates because there is only one candidate who wins by acclamation. I have always said that I wouldn't ask anyone to do anything that I am not prepared to do myself, so I will run. I talked to many of my neighbours and people in the community who think it is a fantastic idea, so I have accepted the challenge,” said McGovern in a release.

Theatre boss runs for mayor

Landmark Cinema manager James Blake is one of six people running for mayor in Penticton in October's municipal election, and he has released his platform.

Blake and his family have lived in Penticton for six years. 

"Since then, Penticton has become a home to us," Blake said in a press release. "We have been blessed to make so many friends and feel like we are a part of the community."

He says the loss of his mother several weeks ago made him realize now was the time to run for mayor. 

"Anyone at any age must stay engaged in their community. We are all better off working together as a village," Blake said. "Not once in six years has anyone from City Hall, three blocks from the theatre, ever come over and asked me how my business was doing and how they could help. This needs to change."

Blake points to the theatre and his experience growing it as proof of what he has to offer as mayor. He also says issues he has encountered as a businessperson have shaped his views as a mayoral candidate. 

"Unfortunately, the theatre's proximity in downtown has made it graphically clear to me how the city has declined," Blake said. "I am literally afraid for my children to take a walk to visit me! I cannot stand by and see our city - our home - decline any further."

Blake joins the field for mayor against incumbent Andrew Jakubeit, and former councillor John Vassilaki, entrepreneur Jason Cox, security guard Dominic Wheeler and former marijuana dispensary owner Jukka Laurio.

'Inclusive' candidate to run

The nomination period is over for the upcoming municipal elections in October, and one candidate throwing his hat in the ring for council in Penticton is Jesse Martin. 

Martin has taught at Outma Sqilx’w Cultural School for the past seven years. He is a part-time fishing guide and the founder of the Penticton Dodgeball League. 

“My family are all blue-collar workers in town and own property in the industrial park.  My friends are mostly young professionals that work downtown," Martin said.

"As a teacher, I care a lot about the concerns of family and youth in our community.  Also, working on the PIB reservation for the past seven years, I want to see more ties between there and the city as well as ensure the city is welcoming and meeting the needs of everyone regardless of ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation.”

Martin's official campaign press release outlines his goals, which include "improving the quality of life for law-abiding Penticton residents," promoting property tax reform, improving accessibility for elders and youth to community programs they need, attracting young professionals and workers to the city and identifying infrastructure weaknesses through data collection. 

Castanet will be providing additional information on all candidates running in Penticton in the coming weeks. 

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